Saturday, April 15, 2006

The Judas Code

Here are some excerpts from a Maundy Thursday sermon given by N. T. Wright:
The reason for the astonishing popularity of The Da Vinci Code on the one hand, and for the huge current media hype about the so-called ‘Gospel of Judas’ on the other, is that so many in our day are eager for enlightenment, hungry for spirituality, and yet desperate to avoid the way of the cross, the genuinely revolutionary kingdom of Jesus.

My brothers and sisters, I have to tell you that it’s a lie. I was studying this newly discovered little tract, the ‘Gospel of Judas’, yesterday morning, and reading what some of its editors had written about it; and there crept over me the horrible sense of a lie cheerfully told, a lie which people are eager to believe, a lie which could sap the vital energy of the church and individual Christians unless we name it for what it is, see the danger, and know why we reject it.

This isn’t the time or place for a full discussion. But let me just say three things about this ‘Gospel of Judas’, and about the contemporary movement which is so eager to fasten on documents like this and to make out that they represent the hidden truth about Jesus which the church has hushed up.

First, as a historian … I have to say that this ‘Gospel of Judas’ has no historical worth at all. It tells us nothing about the true Jesus, or for that matter about the true Judas.… It’s like finding a document purporting to be about Napoleon and his senior advisors, and discovering that they’re talking about nuclear submarines and B52 bombers. It is that crass.

But, second and more important, the ‘gospel of Judas’ and the worldview it represents are deeply, dangerously, damagingly opposed to the goodness of creation and the call of Israel, which of course go together. The whole scripture, and with it all mainline Jewish and Christian thought, is based on the belief that there is one God who made the world, who made it good, and who will put it to rights at the last. Gnosticism declares, very explicitly in the ‘gospel of Judas’, that the world was made by a lesser, low-grade divinity, and that the thing to do is to find the way to escape, to get rid of this human nature which is bottling up the divine spark within us.

And third, it cuts the nerve of working for God’s kingdom in the real world. Who cares about speaking the truth to power if the real task is to escape? Why bother feeding the hungry and housing the homeless, why worry about global debt or global warming or the madness of global warfare, if the main thing to do is to follow your own star and discover your true spiritual identity? Why bother following the real Jesus and standing defenceless before the powers of the world if you can invent a fake Jesus who panders to your inner desires?
What can I add to that?

Pastor Rod

“Helping you become the person God created you to be”

1 comment:

jeff franczak said...

“Gnosticism declares, very explicitly in the ‘gospel of Judas’, that the world was made by a lesser, low-grade divinity…”

What a ghastly lie! No, I will serve the living God and dwell with Him forever because the risen Jesus has saved me and united me with Himself forever.